CASENOTES FOR BOYLE V.

LEE

The facts
The first plaintiff Eoin Boyle, who had a level of experience in the development of property for the purpose of developing and reselling it, sought to purchase the property at 32 Elgin Road in the city of Dublin. The property was for the value of £90,000 in 1988. The property consisted of a number of separate flats to individual tenants. The original negations were said to have taken place between Mr. Boyle and Mr, McManus, acting on behalf as a member the Auctioneers of Lisney & Son. The contract was said to have been completed orally by the above parties. The plaintiff submitted that he was aware that the development had not received full planning permission and was accepting this difficulty and decided to waive any difficulties on the matter. Mr Boyle also claimed that he was prepared to accept the various tenancies and to buy subject to them on a representation made by Mr. McManus that none of them were protected tenancies. Both parties agreed that the deposit on the property would be handled by their respective solicitors. These agreements were said to be subject to contract. The plaintiff later sought specific performance on the grounds of the oral contract. Following the decision of the high Court in favour of the plaintiff on the grounds of the trial judge misdirected himself in law and on the facts suggested that the evidence presented supported or was capable of supporting that a concluded oral agreement for the sale of the property. The second ground for appeal was that the trial judge erred in the law that the letter from Mr. McManus to Messrs. P.J. Walsh & Company constituted a sufficient note or memorandum of an oral agreement to satisfy the Statute of Frauds, 1695.

.Issue When the case was brought to the supreme court. Hederman. 1991.. 1) Complete Contract Rulings: Finlay CJ held that: there was no concluded oral agreement between the two parties based on the fact that the amount required for the deposit had not be agreed upon. The second issue related to whether the letter written on the 8th July. It was said there are no exceptions to this ruling which goes against the findings in Muhall v. 1988 written to Mr P. Haren [1981] IR 364 part of the oral agreement.) on the 13th and 14th November.1 Hederman J: concurred with the findings of Finlay CJ on the matter.J Walsh. McCarthy. Held The appeal was heard by the Supreme Court (Finlay C. the solicitor of the defendant would amount to a memorandum or a note of sufficient regard for the purposes of the Statute of Frauds Act 1695. This would apply even if the phrase did not form Haren.J. It was also stated that the phrase of ‘subject to contract’ are contrary to the existence of the contract being concluded. the issues of the case revolved around the facts of whether the oral agreement including the phrase “subject to contract” amounted to a complete contract that would be enforceable in court. O'Flaherty and Egan JJ. McCarthy J held that: there was a contract was concluded as the oral agreement was concluded by the parties even though amount of the 1 Muhall v.

R. went against the existence of a concluded O’Flaherty J held that: there was no concluded contract. Egan J held that: there was a concluded oral contract between the parties. 364 o must be the interpreted as being a decision on the failure of proof of a concluded oral agreement. As a guideline of sort was offered to future judgements of a similar nature. On the matter of the ‘subject to contract’ are a strong indicator that the concluded agreement does not exist. [1992] ILRM 65 at 571 . decided. 2 of the Act of and if it is otherwise to be interpreted it is incorrectly As such it was found that the letter would not constitute a memorandum for the sale of the property. Also that the conclusion in Muller v. Haren be followed. that the finds in this this case should be interpreted in a certain manner otherwise the finding would be wrong. He then went on to state the phrase ‘subject to contract’ contract.”2 inadequacy of the note or memorandum under s. the plaintiffs submitted that Mulhall v. this was on the grounds of many of the essential term of the contract being missing. and not a decision as t 1695. Haren [1981] I. 2) Memorandum Rulings: Finlay CJ held that: “In support of these contentions.deposit was not agreed upon. Hederman J held that: agreed with Finlay CJ McCarthy J held that: 2 Boyle v Lee [1992]1 IR 555. in effect.

[1992] ILRM 65 at 578 4 Boyle v Lee [1992]1 IR 555. O’Flaherty J held that: the letter from Mr McManus could not be described as the memorandum as it didn’t satisfy the condition laid down in the Statues of Frauds Act 1695.R. [1992] ILRM 65 at 89 5 Tiverton Estates v. However O’Flaherty and Egan JJ were of the view that these cases where exceptional and should be accepted on their facts. the law does not recognise as enforceable a contract to enter into a contract. 340 7 Casey v. In any event.R. the note or memorandum becomes relevant. Wearwell Ltd5that even if the parties produce evidence to show an agreement over a note or letter amounting to memorandum.“As I understand it. Park Hall School [1979] I. the terms of Mr. therefore. 364 . Irish Intercontinental Bank . Wearwell Ltd. Comment Finlay CJ’s findings on the matter of the contract being concluded overruled the findings of Kelly v. He defended the anomalous exception of oral offers in Boyle v. Park Hall School6 and Casey v. . creating the possibility of exceptional circumstances where they could be followed. Lee 4 “that once there is an oral acceptance of a written offer it is at that moment a contract comes into existence and. [1975] Ch. the note or letter will not be held as a memorandum. 146 6 Kelly v. particularly the balance of authority. McManus' letter cannot be used to meet the requirements Frauds. He looked to the English courts system for further readings on the matter. 3 Boyle v Lee [1992]1 IR 555.”3 As such the letter offered by Mr McManus as evidence would not be able to amount to a memorandum for the sale of the property. if it does not satisfy the conditions in the Statutes Of Frauds Act 1695.7 This was also the views of Hederman and McCarthy JJ.” Egan J held that: the memorandum didn’t exist as the agreement of the memorandum was missing an important term. whatever be of theStatute of the exact nature of the deal. Referencing Tiverton Estates v. Irish Intercontinental Bank [1979] I.

While there were dissenting views (O‘Flaherty and Egan JJ) on the matter of the conclusion of the contract. It was also found by the Supreme Court that a written note which denies the existence of a contract cannot constitute a memorandum for the purposes of the Statute of Frauds The findings of Boyle v Lee was seen as the leading case on the matter and was followed in many cases: 1.2. what was put forward as evidence to the Supreme Court did not satisfy the conditions needed for a memorandum laid down in the Statute of Frauds Act 1695 S. that the payment part of a contract can be waived to a degree. the Supreme Court unanimously found against the existence of the note or Memorandum of the agreement as. This followed the ruling on the matter in Miller v. Also look at the case of Revenue v Mooney [1972] IR 372. The matter of allowing the solicitors to decide the deposit was cited in Supermac’s Ireland Ltd V Kastesan (Naas) Ltd8 rejecting the defendant’s claim to strike out the order of specific performance for the sale of property. goes against Finlay CJ’s ruling on Casey and Kelly. that they should not be followed 8 Supermac’s Ireland Ltd V Kastesan (Naas) Ltd[2001] 1ILRM 401 [2000] 4 IR 273 . Haren. 2.

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